The wind was howling this morning when I arrived at the shop, and the strong smell of salt told me the tide was out...so invigorating. The estuary is never dull, and has a charm which even in the depths of winter will enchant me.
Seafood is so often thought of as summer food, and oh, what summer food. I Pipi, blanched to open, drenched in salt, pepper and vinegar, wrapped in brown bread and butter, or frittered, maybe with a little sesame oil in the cooking butter. Scallops, raw, in the shell, with a drizzle of tamari sauce and a squirt of wasabi. Paua, sliced thinly, and tossed quickly with butter or good oil, garlic, and fresh watercress. Cockles thrown into a pan of oil and garlic, a good glug of wine and parsley, eaten with bread, crusty or chewy doesn't matter, and a salad fragrant with mint, any of the basils, chervil. I have always meant to try kina with pasta again, as the memory of my last try has faded a little, but it is so hard to go past Hone Tuwhares recipe
on the shore again, we seek out the pooled
rocks at low tide, delicately
plucking the prickle-needled king
(sea egg), opening it, and scooping
out the vulnerable and tremulous
orange segments, clinging inside
its globular shelter. And well...
Slurp is all you hear, as we hold it
a-dangle above our gaping mouths,
dropping it quickly into a
ngungly-snuckly, throat contraction flat out
right the way on past the
Adam's-apple check out slithery gump
m-m-m-m and m-m-m-m-
my millennial thanks to you,
That would have to be a recipe for summer bliss...
But last night I cooked mussels, wintery mussels, and they were so good, we ate them before I could take a photo!
I started with plenty of good Olivado olive oil and two cloves of garlic crushed, then added about 1 1/2 kg quartered potatoes, two tsp Rapunzel Organic powdered vegetable bouillon and water to almost cover as we had no stock. I left it to simmer with a sprig each of rosemary and lemon thyme until the potatoes were cooked through. After washing the mussels in plenty of cold water, I put them in the pan with two good handfuls of spinach and a grind of pepper. I covered the pan, and left it to steam until the mussels opened and firmed up a little, then added a last little splosh of oil. We were late with dinner so I was hungry, but really, it was just the perfect thing for a bleak winter night. Omega have vac packed mussels and cockles so they keep in the frig for ages, ready to go, so will put this recipe for emergency food beside my stocks. Next time I will serve plenty of bread to mop up the juices so we don't have to drink from our plates! Have a look at their website www omegaseafood.com